Kelowna parking space used for storing shopping carts

"This gives us another touch point with people who are on the street and may not otherwise access our services..."

Concerns that the city’s street population are cluttering up Leon Avenue with shopping carts have been addressed.

“Over the summer it became apparent we had an increase of shopping carts, and we got together with the city hand discussed it and came up with solutions,” said Randy Benson, of the Gospel Mission, explaining that the city offered up some parking space and the Mission put in some storage.

The Gospel Mission in partnership with the City of Kelowna have  created a dozen storage spaces for carts. They were up and running as of Thursday and nearly running at full capacity by the end of the weekend. More can be built if the need increases.

While it addresses complaints from the community, that’s not where Benson sees the most benefit.

“I think the most positive thing is that this gives us another touch point with people who are on the street and may not otherwise access our services,” he said. “These people can talk to outreach worker when they’re here.”

It also will give these people some peace of mind. They can check in their cart to a secure place and have access to it when they need it, allowing for some freedom.

Cart parking is coming together around the same time as the Gospel Mission’s courtyard. It’s opening next week, and will provide a hang-out space for those who use the mission’s services.